The Syrian uprising against Bashar al-Assad continues undiminished well into its second year.
Although the struggle has taken on an increasingly military aspect, Syrians still bravely gather in their thousands to call for the end of the Assad regime, as in the Damascus suburb of Douma:
And in Kafran Naboude:
And at the School of Electrical Engineering at Aleppo University:
(Via EA WorldView)
The Washington Post reports that the US government has taken a role in coordinating arms shipments to Syrian rebels. The arms are paid for by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other gulf countries.
The new supplies reversed months of setbacks for the rebels that forced them to withdraw from their stronghold in the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs and many other areas in Idlib and elsewhere.
“Large shipments have got through,” another opposition figure said. “Some areas are loaded with weapons.”
The effect of the new arms appeared evident in Monday’s clash between opposition and government forces over control of the rebel-held city of Rastan, near Homs. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said rebel forces who overran a government base had killed 23 Syrian soldiers.
The United States and its allies remain formally committed to a U.N. peace plan being spearheaded by former secretary general Kofi Annan. Nearly two-thirds of an authorized 300 unarmed U.N. military monitors have arrived in Syria, with the rest due by the end of this month.
But even Annan has acknowledged the initiative has failed so far to significantly quell the violence or make progress toward a political transition. U.S. officials have said they feel constrained from declaring the mission a failure, at least until the full complement of monitors arrives. Annan himself has expressed pessimism over prospects for success.
Opposition figures said they have been in direct contact with State Department officials to designate worthy rebel recipients of arms and pinpoint locations for stockpiles, but U.S. officials said that there currently are no military or intelligence personnel on the ground in Syria.
If you want just one reason why the Syrian uprising deserves Western support, read Michael Weiss’s report on the regime’s standard practice of raping and impregnating women in rebel-held neighborhoods.
Who keeps shoveling money to these clowns?